Alesis MultiMix16 USB 2.0

More flexible than many of its computer-friendly rivals, this is a mixer that'll serve in live and studio situations.

The MultiMix16 is a small format console mixer with direct-to-disk recording via USB 2.0. The mixer features eight mono input channels and an additional four stereo ones.

Each of the mono inputs offers XLR mic and 1/4” jack inputs with individual gain controls and a high-pass filter to roll off frequencies below 75Hz. The stereo channels offer a pair of 1/4” jack inputs and all connections are made at the back of the top panel.

All channels also feature a fixed 3-band EQ, two auxiliary sends, a pan control, a mute switch, a solo button and a volume fader. The mute switch serves an extremely useful secondary function - rather than simply switching the output off, it routes the signal to an alternative bus output that’s labelled 3/4. If this bus isn’t connected to a physical output (such as a second pair of monitors) the channel is muted.

The master section features faders for both Main 1/2 and Alt 3/4 buses, alongside monitoring switches that let you route the output pair of your choice to the Control Room speakers and headphone feeds, including the audio stream returning from your computer, of which more shortly. Above this, you’ll find master auxiliary level controls and the built-in effects sections.

Alongside the inputs, all output routings are made along the top section where a small green display also indicates the presence of a USB signal. A power switch, a switch for phantom power and the USB connector are on the back panel.

Excellent interfacing

The ace in the MultiMix’s hand is its USB 2.0 audio functionality. You might expect a mixer of this type to be able to ship its master output to the computer for real-time audio capture and you’d be right. Additionally, however, every single input channel can also be recorded direct-to-disk, giving you a whopping 18 channels of simultaneous audio recording.

So you can plug in and monitor the whole of your band, with multiple inputs for drums, for instance, and record just these by arming only the channels you wish to capture in your DAW software.

The MultiMix supports audio up to 24-bit/96kHz, and we found the preamps to be clean and eminently useable. The only aspects missing from a channel strip signal sent to the computer are auxiliary returns – because auxiliaries are shared, there would be no way to prevent returns from other channels bleeding into your chosen channel. This means that if you want to capture the internal effects, you’ll only be able to do so by recording the main outs on channels 17 and 18.

The only operational niggle we encountered occurred when we reduced the I/O buffer size within Logic to ensure zero latency monitoring – the MultiMix stopped communicating with Logic altogether. When we rebooted Logic with the new buffer size, normal service was resumed, so this isn’t too big a deal, but it could be annoying in a ‘heat of the moment’ session.

Summary

Happily, the MultiMix 16 USB 2.0 is a product that keeps on giving. The ability to feed each channel to the computer individually is the most significant feature, as this means that you can patch all of your gear to this mixer and be ready to record anything at the drop of a hat.

However, even some of the smaller details have been really well thought-out. The ability to access additional outputs via the toggled mute switch is a useful bonus, as is the summed 2- track, USB audio return. With this, audio streams from USB or the 2-track RCA inputs are grouped together, so if you’re using this mixer live, with audio playing back from a laptop as well as a PC (for pre-gig music), you don’t need to re-patch.

The MultiMix 16 USB 2.0 oozes flexibility and, as a result, will appeal to both users who intend to lock it up in the studio for recording, or to take it on the road for PA duties and gig recording. If you need a mixer, audio interface and effects unit in one package, look no further. 

MusicRadar Rating

4.5 / 5 stars
Pros

18 audio outputs! Clean mic preamps. Flexible master section that includes effects.

Cons

You may have to reboot your DAW when you adjust the buffer size.

Verdict

A compact mixer and audio interface for the road or the studio. Impressive.

Country of Origin

USA

Features

18-direct outputs for recording and 2 return inputs for monitoring. High–gain mic/line (XLR and 1/4” balanced) inputs with phantom power, 2 stereo balanced 1/4”. Line inputs, aux send (to onboard or external effects), stereo aux return. Switchable 75Hz high pass filters. 100 24–bit onboard preset effects including reverbs, delays, chorus, flanging, pitch and multi–effects. 3–band EQ per channel with high/low shelving and mid band pass/reject. Separate 1/4” balanced main and monitor outs, headphone out. Smooth 60mm faders. 24–bit, 44.1 to 96 kHz operation with high–end A/D and D/A conversion through an integrated USB Audio interface. Compatible with Mac OS X and Windows XP. Steinberg Cubase LE included. Easy–to–attach rack mount ears available.

Description

A hardware mixer with direct-to-disk recording via USB

Audio Inputs

1/4 Inch Balanced XLR

Audio Outputs

1/4 Inch Balanced Headphone Out

Direct Outputs

Yes

Effects

Yes

EQ Details

3-band

Review Policy
All MusicRadar's reviews are by independent product specialists, who are not aligned to any gear manufacturer or retailer. Our experts also write for renowned magazines such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Computer Music, Future Music and Rhythm. All are part of Future PLC, the biggest publisher of music making magazines in the world.

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